"Loud Music" Killer Michael Dunn's Sentence Is Life In Prison Without Parole, Finally
Culminating a two-year long legal saga of trial and re-trial, the "loud music" killer, Michael Dunn, got a life sentence for the murder of black teenager Jordan Davis on Friday. Dunn shot the 17-year-old Davis back in 2012 in Jacksonville, after he'd asked the teen to turn down the music coming from his SUV. Though Dunn had previously been found guilty of three counts of attempted murder, the jury had been hung on the count of first-degree murder — forcing Dunn to be retried, and the conversation about race and Stand-Your-Ground laws to continue.
Today's verdict comes at a time when the nation is more aware than ever of an awful trend: black teens being fatally shot for no reason at all. Dunn's trial has been central in that conversation: in February, he was convicted of three counts of attempted murder, but left with a hung jury when it came to the murder charge. Why? The crux of it was that he claimed that he'd been afraid for his life, even though there was no evidence to suggest he'd been in danger. So he shot 10 times at the SUV full of teens, even as they were trying to get away.
As in the case of George Zimmerman's trial, the scent of racial bias was undeniably in the air. Critics were quick to point out that people seemed easily convinced, when it came to white defendants being afraid of young black men. This is especially poignant now, as the spotlight on Ferguson, and racially charged police brutality, continues to be shone.
Which is why today's sentencing, imposed by Circuit Judge Russell Healey, is so important. As Healey told him:
Mr. Dunn, your life is effectively over. What is sad is that this case exemplifies that our society seems to have lost its way.
Still, on a somewhat more optimistic note, Dunn apologized to Davis' parents for the first time Friday, during the sentencing hearing.
He told them:
If I could roll back time and do things differently, I would. I was in fear for my life and I did what I thought I had to do. Still, I am mortified I took a life, whether it was justified or not.
As his prosecutors didn't push for a death penalty, he'll be spending life in prison without parole.
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